Oct 28 2018

Why should you choose radio advertising? Whether you're using it as the main driving force for your campaign, or you're introducing it to your marketing mix, you'll want to know what you're getting yourself in for. 

That's where this radio advertising effectiveness guide comes in. Built by radio professionals for new and current radio advertisers this guide goes through all the reasons why radio advertising is effective and how you can optimise your campaigns with it in mind.

Pick a section from the list below and you'll jump straight to it:

 

Radio is cost-effective  
Radio Listening Keeps Growing  
Radio Listening and Emotional Response  
Radio Targets the Right People at the Right Times  
Radio Advertising Creative  
Radio Builds Brands and Changes Perceptions  
Radio Delivers Short Term Sales Responses  
Radio Advertising Supports Cross-channel advertising  
Radio Advertising enables Voice Branding  
Radio Advertising Is Britain's Most Trusted Medium  

 


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why radio advertising? 

Assessing the effectiveness of an advertising medium starts with assessing the impact it has on the population. It's footprint. It's legacy. 

Because at the end of the day, that's what we're really spending our budgets on. The chance to share the stage and shout your message. 

As far as radio is concerned, there isn't a home, car or workplace without the comforting sounds of FM or DAB. 

It's been with us in good and bad times a like. Through tragedy, triumph and transition. 

Radio is a part of our lives, our habits, our daily routines. 

That's why advertisers everywhere use radio to carry their messages to people with confidence. 

Ad avoidance for radio is the lowest out of all mediums, making it a stand out choice for those looking to cut through the noise to reach their customers effectively. And, radio has always had the contextual edge, being consumed in and around other activities and habits. Research conducted by Differentology, brands like McDonalds, Heinz and Deliveroo saw a sales uplift of 51% when they focused on targeted their customers when they were engaged in relevant activities. Meaning radio is great choice for growth minded marketers. 

Speaking technically, radio is a reach medium with universal appeal, targeting an attentive and captive audience. Listeners have a strong emotional connection with their chosen station, which reflects positively on radio advertising. It provides information as it reaches consumers closest to their time of purchase, as they drive to or from work, or even during a lunch break.

Radio advertising has inherent persuasive strengths which subconsciously build trust, purchase intent, and personal cues. Radio is also a highly effective medium with a strong ROI. Naturally the effectiveness of advertising varies by the creativity and relevancy of ads, and radio is no exception.

Relevant emotional and creative radio ads help consumer to process brand-related information in a creative, cost effective approach. 

And despite our busy lives and massive choice of media on offer, radio listening remains high. This has been reflected in both the RAJAR listening figures and the ad spend figures released at the start of this year.

fastest growing

 

"Radio is such a personal medium. The reach tends to be in the home, which immediately gives it an emotional edge. A good creative can really trigger and emotional response using the imagination and emotions with words and music."

-Full Service Agency

 

 

"Radio delivers a mass audience, and in a much more cost-effective way then TV, which improves ROI."

-Advertiser, Financial Services.

 

 

"Radio is never going to go away, commuter radio is just too valuable"

-Advertiser, Telecommunications

 

The reasons why radio advertising is so effective can vary from campaign to campaign, but there are some clear benefits to advertising on radio that stand head and shoulders above the rest. 

The following reasons should start to shed light on radio advertising effectiveness. Let's dive in. 

money 1

COST-effectiveness 

Running low cost, low risk but high impact advertising is the holy grail.

Every penny saved is another one going back into your return making it easier to prove the effectiveness of your chosen campaign and serving as a gesture of faith in you and your choice of media. 

As far as traditional media goes (TV. Radio, Print, Out of home, cinema and direct) you'll be investing in an established audience and quality environment. 

With digital advertising, like social media, PPC and display, you'll get a more varied cost that ramps up the more people see your ad. This essentially removes the cap on your spend, making getting a proper ROI from cheaper products and services much harder. 

To assess the effectiveness of radio we'll be looking at it in the context of the other traditional media.

What's the average ROI for our radio clients? We explore that in our ebook which you can download here. 

Pic 24-2

When it comes to actually creating your ads you have to not only factor in the cost of the airtime or space on the page, you also have to consider the cost of producing the creative. 

From a 60 second TV ad with a full cast and crew, to a microphone, a voice actor and a sound designer - it's vitally important that you get creative that carries your message to your customers with originality, empathy and creativity. 

But, for most, our imaginations run up a hefty bill. 

Dreams of a sprawling cast, original soundtrack and beautifully colourised cinematography come to mind only to be crushed by the weight of the inevitable invoice.  

But with radio, you can have your dream ad without running up a hefty creative bill. All you need is the right script and an excellent sound designer to bring alive the theatre of the mind. 

This is reflected in the evidence, with many advertisers believing that you can have a cost-effective advertising campaign with radio. Just take a look at the results of the Re-evaluating Media study from Ebiquity:

low production cost

But, some critics remain. There is no way that an audio ad can be as effective as visual one, right..?

lights-1577471_1920

The psychological benefits of music and audio are well documented. It's been found to improve moods when shopping, leading to overall average expenditure. 

Advertisers can also use the familiarity of a popular song to incite a specific reaction in viewers that aligns with the objective of their ad. Powerful songs can evoke strong emotional responses, and songs can help create a soundtrack to the events unfolding in an ad when lyrics are integrated into the voice over and storyline.


 

"Using well known music is like using the world’s best short cut. It gets a client on level three almost immediately. You’re quickly getting them to the level of trust, commercial responsibility and actionability that can take years of standard outreach."

 - Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

But while it’s important that ads resonate with viewers, advertisers want their messages to drive sales, especially with the large price tags that can come with using popular music. However, the good news is that popular songs (and artists) deliver a one-two punch: They boost emotive power and can drive significant returns.

Slower paced songs have even been attributed with improved memory. 

In the case of the John Lewis Christmas advert from 2015, Aurora were commissioned to perform a cover of the Oasis song 'Half The World Away'. In 2014, it was Tom Odell covering Real Love and most recently Elbow covered Golden Slumbers. 

The benefits of using a well-known, and probably very expensive, bit of music was twofold:

  1. People already know it and begin to draw associations almost immediately. People will also have their own experiences with the song and will carry over those thoughts and feelings. (Which can have positive and negative effects.)
  2. They were able to adapt the popular song to suit the shorter, punchier format of an advert. (And play around with manipulative elements of music theory)

And this is where elements of music theory begin to come into effect. Let's take the 2015 'Man on the Moon' as an example.

Alternating between her full voice and falsetto, Aurora builds up to her higher range in the line ‘I’ve been lost I’ve been found, but I don’t feel down’. She’s backed by piano chords and strings. It’s simple and soft, yet emotionally overwhelming through a mix of minor and major lifts (giving us that rollercoaster of emotions feeling).

More critically, there is always a pause before the final uplifting chorus plays at the artists highest range. 

 

How royalties work:

We spoke to Creative Account Manager, Steffen about how royalties and licencing works:

"When it comes to using a song, you have two options:

You can buy publishing rights – essentially you're buying sheet music and can recreate it however you like. This costs less than mechanical rights but you need to factor in the costs for covering the song.

Option two is to buy publishing AND mechanical rights. This is for people who want to totally lift it and use the exact song. This is naturally more expensive.

You also need an agreement with the record company. Some of the record companies are a bit precious. For example 7 Nation Army by the White Stripes is totally off limits for anyone, regardless of budget."

 

This extends to the choice of voice. When a lot of adverts rely on voice over to deliver important bits of information, you need to make sure that your voice is both consistent with creative and context. 

"I can’t over stress the importance of voice casting. No matter how good the writing, how impeccable the sound design, if you get the wrong voice in everything will be ruined."

Payment Options 

Radio advertising also has a wealth of flexible payment options to help curb the costs. 

These payment plans usually come in the form of 12 month, brand building campaigns that are designed to spread the cost of production and airtime over a long period of time. As it works, you'll slowly be building share of mind with the listeners of your chosen station. 

Our WOW packages only come round at the start of the financial year but if it sounds like something you'd be interested in, you can contact a member of our team below:

Contact the team

Listening

Listening keeps growing

Unsurprisingly, more services and greater availability is leading to an increase in overall audio listening. As of Spring 2018, 96% of adults listen to some form of audio entertainment for an average of 26.6 hours per week. IPA’s Touchpoints research highlights how audio listening currently accounts for 18% of all time spent with media

Radiocentre’s research project Audio Now explored the position of different audio services in people’s lives today. The study established that the demand for audio is increasing due to the pressure of modern life, with people using audio to help them cope. But audio doesn’t just fulfil one need: the research identified six different need-states where audio played a role.

audio listening

But with the introduction and proliferation of on-demand audio services like Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon, questions have been raised about Radio's future. Despite these questions, on-demand audio has become the yin to live radio's yang. 

The different characteristics of live radio and on-demand audio mean that they are suited to different need-states and play complementary roles in the listener’s life.

Live radio is unique because it offers human voice and human choice and retains the ability to surprise. Radio also connects us to the outside world – both by keeping us in the loop and by providing a reason to talk to the people around us. What makes on-demand audio services different is the potential to listen – at least in theory – to anything. It offers control and instant gratification and the ability for a more immersive, focused music experience. While radio can help people feel connected to the wider world, on-demand help connects them to their world: be it friends with similar tastes or people they share playlists with.

Where people listen

 

eMOTIONAL MULTIPLIER 

Amongst other things, people use media to make themselves feel better and when Radio is done right, it has the biggest emotional multiplier effect on your customers than any other advertising medium.

Radiocentre's study 'Radio: The Emotional Multiplier' found that:


Media consumption has a significant positive effect on people's mood


When the respondents reported their media usage and their perceived levels of happiness and energy across the week, there is a clear correlation: people who were consuming media had higher scores for both energy and happiness.

Radio has the biggest influence on people’s Happiness and Energy

and on more occasions radio is the highest scoring medium (compared to TV and online) for increasing both energy and happiness. This is true across all days of the week and almost all times of day.

This radio editorial effect is proven to enhance engagement with advertising

EEG tests in the lab confirm that radio stimulates positive engagement activity in the brain. They also confirm that when ads are preceded by radio editorial, levels of positive engagement are sustained throughout the ad break.

 

But just being on radio won't be enough for you to tug at your customer's heart strings and compel them to take an action.

Radio is the perfect platform to showcase writing talent. A well-constructed script can pack a real punch and make your ad stand out in a busy ad break. Although there is no one way to approach a radio script, here are some things to consider as you get started:

  • Know your spot length. Before you start, be very clear on how much time you have to play with, including any ‘legal’ copy you may be required to include.
  • Keep it simple. Be single-minded. Don’t expect your listener to remember complex detail. The ‘tennis ball analogy’ holds true.
  • How does your brand speak? Are there any distinctive words, phrases or a distinctive way of speaking synonymous with the brand? If so, you should use them or write in a way that compliments them.
  • Don’t overwrite your ad. With radio, you can communicate powerfully with very few words. Silence and a few carefully chosen words can create real impact and make your message easier to recall. That said, a more complex script can reward repeat listening if it’s well-written and well-judged – provided the commercial message remains clear.
  • Avoid the clichés. Radio can be a best-bed of tired creative conventions. (‘This is the sound of….’, the presenter spoof, ‘The blah-blah sale is NOW ON..’ etc.) Make sure your spot is distinctive and avoid becoming audio wallpaper.

 

target-2558687_1920

Targeting 

Getting true advertising effectiveness starts with knowing who your customers are and how you can best approach them. Using national and regional advertising methods can result in a lot of wastage. 

Reaching the most receptive of any audience isn't an easy prospect, it's been that way for a long time. 

Want to learn how to plan and buy radio like an expert? Download our 'Compehensive guide to Radio Advertising' here.

Back in the 50's people were targeted based on their job role. In the 80s it was about where they lived. In the 90s, we targeted based on what they bought. These insights were gained through hard fought censuses or surveys. Either way, they were static and didn't reflect the lives we lead. 

Until now, we’ve been thinking about what the demographic characteristics of a person can tell us about who that person is and what they might purchase; for instance, if they live in a certain area, are of a certain age and do a certain job, we might be able to deduce that they like foreign holidays. However, this is simply a "propensity", meaning they are twice as likely to engage with foreign holidays, based on results modelled from a survey base, measured in tens of thousands.

Now, with new data sets such as social data, we already know that certain people like foreign holidays before we’ve even tried to figure out where they live or what else they do. By adding that information, we can then complete the picture on who a customer is, how best to communicate with them and what channel to use to do so.

In short, instead of targeting using demographics, we need to target using what actually matters: people’s passions, motivations and mindsets. We need to target like radio has been since its inception - based off interest, passion and love. 

 

"Our analysis shows that radio is the most flexible medium as it can be used to target audiences by geography, demographics, context, time of day, day of week and, to a more limited extent, addressably for listeners on connected devices"

 -Re-Evaluating Media, Ebiquity

Different stations carry different interests and, as a result, different audiences. Going one step further, the shows on those stations specialise even more - with certain presenters and personalities garnering niche interests and passions. 

targeting

 

building-1989816_1920

So you’re a model parent, right?

You go to all your child’s major life events: birthdays, graduation, ballet class, wedding, everything. But all you do when you get there is sit in the corner, making no effort, wondering why no one wants to talk to you. 

Sometimes turning up just isn't enough. Being active in a channel doesn’t mean that people are going to flock to your doorstep and hold open their wallets for you.

No, simply reaching your customers isn’t enough. You need creative synergy, integration and, most importantly, advertising context.

Because according to IPA Touchpoints; 92% of listening is done while listeners are engaged in another activity.

And if you need to see results, look no further than research conducted by Differentology, brands like McDonalds, Heinz and Deliveroo saw a sales uplift of 51% when they focused on targeted their customers when they were engaged in relevant activities.

“The key to getting people to change their behaviour sometimes lies with the smallest details of their immediate situation. The power of context says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem.”

Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point.

Before discussing how best to use context and which advertising mediums offer it, let's go through the types of context. 


Intent Context

Different times of the day carry different customer intents.

While your customers are driving to work, they’re looking to fill empty space.

While they’re at work, they’re focused. When they’re home, they’re looking to unwind.

This means that you need to change your advertising message to suit the intents of your customers.

If for example we go back to the driving to work scenario, hearing a radio advert with witty creative and entertaining characters, it feels like you’re being brought into a conversation and not being subjected to professionally produced branded content.

 

Advice:

Getting intent right means that you need to actually experience your ad as a user would. It’s not enough to put a bunch of marketers together in a conference room and go through the ad you created. You need to feel the ad as a user would. This means experiencing your ad in the proper environment. 

Listen to it in your car, while you're working. Immerse yourself before you ask your customers to. 

 

 Platform Context 

 

Just how different times of the day can carry different values, so to can the platform you actually choose to advertise on.

This is something most advertisers consider without even realising.

The first wave of TV adverts consisted of radio presenters reading a script to microphones. Essentially it was a filmed reading of a radio advert.

What would your boss say to you if you pitched that idea?

Taking a radio advert and putting it on TV (and vice versa) is obviously not the right way to go about advertising. Why? Well because there are major, fundamental differences between platforms.

But with the amount of YouTube pre-roll ads being ripped straight from TV, it would appear that marketers haven’t learned the lesson. Likewise with radio ads being copy and pasted straight into your favourite podcast. 

Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that marketers haven’t taken the next lesson. People are consuming media differently.

Some platforms are incredibly dynamic, they can be viewed anywhere, at anytime. So you need to make sure that you’re either providing a message relevant to all the different touchpoints, or you’re picking the right mediums.

 

Situational Context

 

Here’s the be all and end all of situational context: make your customers feel like the ad they’re being served is built specifically for that very moment they’re experiencing it in.

The most obvious way this is being done today is through social media. Just look at some of these tweets that leverage current events to really get the most out of situational context.

Like Wall’s response to the heatwave that hit the UK in early 2018:

 

 

For more traditional media, like radio, this takes a less specific perspective but is equally as effective. Radio leverages pain points that come along with the touchpoints that attract the most listeners.

One of the best examples of this is morning drive time, where radio generally attracts the most listeners. Here, in this moment, you have a captive audience. You know what they’re doing: driving sat behind another car with their handbrake on. You know how they’re feeling: bored.

Some of the most successful radio campaigns to date have taken this insight and used it in a variety of different ways. We all must've heard of Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace. Well they used this touchpoint perfectly. They ran the message home while their customers could do nothing but stare at their windscreen. Cracks or not, you were thinking about windscreen repair. Needless to say they saw massive results almost immediately and also went down in radio advertising history for the most recognisable jingle.

Radio and Context  

As an advertiser you're under constant pressure to prove your advertising effectiveness. You need something efficient and cost-effective. Something you can guarantee will connect with your customers consistently at the times they're most likely to take action. That's where radio comes in.

Radio delivers on context in a few important ways:

 

Strategic Planning

You’re probably reading this with a pretty good idea of when you would want your advertisements to run. Nine times out of ten, however, advertisers jump at the wrong times.

Drive time and breakfast are massively popular on radio stations and are always overbooked, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best for your business. You need to think about your brand, your customers and what they’re doing at certain times in the day.

If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry, every radio station will have Planners who are specifically briefed to find you the time bands that will get you the best response.n

Smooth Radio North West’s Planner shared some of the most common mistakes made by advertisers on radio in terms of planning spots and airtime:

Confessions of A Radio Planner

1 - Advertisers Presume No One is Listening Overnight – Smooth North West, in isolation, delivers listeners you wouldn’t expect. Taxi Drivers, Lorry Drivers, you name it. Even those who are looking to get back to sleep. A lot of advertisers are often surprised at the levels of audience radio delivers overnight and a bit of bravery is required to take advantage of this listener base. 

Smooth is known as the ‘relaxing music mix’ so this Mattress supplier knew their radio advert focusing on those who’re struggling to sleep at night would hit the ground running. They picked unpopular (and massively cheap slots) that run overnight to target those who are struggling to sleep. We knew Smooth delivered massive audience overnight so this campaign went down a storm.

2- Advertisers Jump At Busiest Slots – Not only do the prices mount up higher and higher due to competition, it’s become a bit of misnomer that these slots give the best results, they just give you the most of our audience when they’re captive. Unless you’re a motor salesman, windscreen repair person or anything relating to cars – we’d suggest you stay away from drive time and instead look for where your customers are most engaged.

3 - Programmatic Ads on Radio are a thing – Line up more than one bit of creative because radio has the technology to change which ad gets played on the fly.

McDonalds UK ran programmatic ads during the summer of 2017. Depending on temperatures form the met office, their creative would change. While it stayed under a certain temperature they ran the regular ads for the ‘Saver Menu’. Once the temperature went over a certain level, those switched out for McFlurry Ads. Simple. 


 

Strategic planning, like most advertising, starts from having a decent brief and a clear understanding of your customers. Work on clearly defining those audiences so we can find the perfect spot for your ad to play on.

 

Sponsorships

Down to the emotional connection and relationship between listener and station, competitions, phone ins, text ins and other listener engagement activities have massive impact on radio. The impact far out-shoots other traditional media and, with the combination of digital and radio, this is only improving over time.

A sponsorship works in a similar way to regular air-time promotions, but instead of playing between other ads in a slot you get to be the champion for a specific segment on radio. This could be a competition, a giveaway or a specific show like the weather, news or a particular host’s show.

Sponsorships like these that are massively popular with a very distinct listenership give you a chance to get contextual advertising perfect.

Each segment that you can sponsor has it’s own specific tone and content which you can follow according to your objectives.

Advertisers looking to drive sales to their music event have sponsored some of our most popular hits shows. Legal and law firms have sponsored the news and so on.

For a slightly more subversive example, following the weather with a sponsorship for a travel agent would be a sound decision. Imagine if you had a great deal for sunny breaks away and knew that you needed to target work weary adults who were thinking about a break. Hitting them after they’ve just heard the bleak weather report and are thinking about how rubbish the weather is is a great use of context based advertising.

There is another way to advertise on radio. The live-read. Learn all about it in our latest ebook.

 Download our 'Compehensive guide to Radio Advertising' here.

 

Delivering Relevance At Scale

Radio, according to Ebiquity:

"Is the most flexible medium as it can be used to target audiences by geography, demographics, context, time of day, day of week and addressability for listeners on connected devices”

Going to broad and not targeting can lead to problems. What many either don’t seem to know or don’t seem to acknowledge is that targeting too specifically can get you into an equally as tricky situation.

What you need is relevance on a scale that matters. Context, not just for a couple of hundred people, but for hundreds of thousands.

Radio provides that relevance at scale.

In isolation, Smooth Radio North West, the outright number one commercial radio station outside of London, reaches 488,000 adults during weekday drive time (4pm to 8pm) and 535,000 adults during weekday breakfast (6am to 10am).*

This is a great period of time for you to connect with customers who are all engaged in an activity. You can align your creative and create a context based campaign that delivers genuine measurable results.

But Smooth North West isn’t the only market leading radio station we have. Browse the rest of our stations here:

Learn about our stations

 

  *Source: RAJAR/Ipsos-MORI/RSMB six months ended June 2018 within the Smooth Radio North West TSA

 

creativity

cREATIVITY 

Although most people jump straight to clumsy puppies or crying babies when thinking about emotional response, it's probably more accurate to say that we have an emotional response to any and all stimulus.

According to Dan Hill in Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, It takes less than three seconds to have a gut reaction:

 

“Emotions process sensory input in only one-fifth the time our conscious, cognitive brain takes to assimilate that same input.”

 

Emotional response and triggers are the building blocks of the world around us.  

From the visual and auditory cues early man would get from predators and dangers to the cry of a baby we're hardwired to respond to certain stimuli with emotions which trigger action. Fight, flight, nurture or delight. 

It was only natural that we, as intelligent beings, would recognise this as an opportunity for us to persuade, manipulate and influence.

But it's not without its critics.

Many people believe emotions take a negative role – keeping us at arm’s length away from rational decision making.

Instead, it would appear that the opposite is the case. 

As Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, wrote in Fast Company

 

“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”

 

And according to a study conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara which indicates a modicum of anger increases ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant claims in disputed issues is sharpened.

Once we understand how fundamental emotions are to our decision making, we can begin to appreciate how and why an approach grounded in the ethereal (emotions and feelings) can actually lead to an improvement in the tangible (revenue and associations).

The impact creative has on ROI was shown in a Nielson Catalina Solutions survey that analysed the ROI of 500 advertising campaigns. It found that creative drove 47% of ROI. With all that in mind, let's see how Radio delivers on creativity. 

DIFF

Writing Radio Drama is a sought after position for creative writers. It necessitates the kind of ingenuity, creative wit and genius that attracted people to writing in the first place.

With no visual aids to fall back on to, a radio drama lives and dies with the writing. If you have a bad script, you're done for. 

The same lessons apply to radio advertising and it's why you often find the wittiest, most intelligent bits of creativity on radio... but also why you find some of the most derivative and mindless bits of creative too. 

This all stems from the nature of the medium. 

One of radio's enduring strengths is that you can listen while doing something else.  But with this comes a heightened need to have clear, stand out creative... (According to IPA Touchpoints; 92% of listening is done while listeners are engaged in another activity.) with that in mind you need to be much more efficient with your creative on radio than you would have to be with other traditional advertising mediums. 

If you really want to hear what good radio creative sounds like, then you'll want to check out our Radio Advert Archive, where we've been building up a bank of the best (and worst) radio adverts currently airing, along with the thoughts from our own creatives (the guys who write the ads). 

Our creatives go through their best practices in our latest ebook. Download our 'Compehensive guide to Radio Advertising' here.

For now though, here's what Creative Account Manager Callum Tyler thought about Easy Jet's Advert, which you can listen to below: 

 

 

 

Thoughts from Creative Account Manager Callum Tyler:

"An idea that’s well-executed if straightforward. I’m not sure I’ve heard another travel brand be quite so direct about the ‘Remaining Holiday’ idea but it’s tactical and timely for Nov/December. The ‘Final Call’ element is a neat way to bring home the idea that time is running out to use up your holiday days - urgency is a key ingredient in a lot of radio advertising, it’s something the medium is good at fostering. I’d be be interested to know if they got a noticeable bump from this - I have 5 days holiday left, for instance, and did indeed spend a few minutes browsing EasyJet’s dirt-cheap holiday options (mainly to Albufeira) when their email campaign dropped in my inbox last week. Supporting a digital campaign with radio has been shown time and again to be effective. When people see the message one place, and hear it another, they’re far more likely to click."

- Callum Tyler, Creative Account Manager

 

 

Music

The psychological benefits of music and audio are well documented. It's been found to improve moods when shopping, leading to higher than average overall expenditure. 

Advertisers can also use the familiarity of a popular song to incite a specific reaction in listeners that aligns with the objective of their ad. Powerful songs can evoke strong emotional responses, and songs can help create a soundtrack to the events unfolding in an ad when lyrics are integrated into the voice over and storyline.


 

"Using well known music is like using the world’s best short cut. It gets a client on level three almost immediately. You’re quickly getting them to the level of trust, commercial responsibility and actionability that can take years of standard outreach."

 - Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

But while it’s important that ads resonate with listeners, advertisers want their messages to drive sales, especially with the large price tags that can come with using popular music. However, the good news is that popular songs (and artists) deliver a one-two punch: They boost emotive power and can drive significant returns.

Slower paced songs have even been attributed with improved memory. 

In the case of the John Lewis Christmas advert from 2015, Aurora were commissioned to perform a cover of the Oasis song 'Half The World Away'. In 2014, it was Tom Odell covering Real Love and most recently Elbow covered Golden Slumbers. Most recently, the #EltonJohnLewis Christmas Ad - his gift is his song. 

The benefits of using a well-known, and probably very expensive, bit of music was twofold:

  1. People already know it and begin to draw associations almost immediately. People will also have their own experiences with the song and will carry over those thoughts and feelings. (Which can have positive and negative effects.)
  2. They were able to adapt the popular song to suit the shorter, punchier format of an advert. (And play around with manipulative elements of music theory)

And this is where elements of music theory begin to come into effect. Let's take the 2015 'Man on the Moon' as an example.

Alternating between her full voice and falsetto, Aurora builds up to her higher range in the line ‘I’ve been lost I’ve been found, but I don’t feel down’. She’s backed by piano chords and strings. It’s simple and soft, yet emotionally overwhelming through a mix of minor and major lifts (giving us that rollercoaster of emotions feeling).

More critically, there is always a pause before the final uplifting chorus plays at the artists highest range. 

This extends to the choice of voice. When a lot of adverts rely on voice over to deliver important bits of information, you need to make sure that your voice is both consistent with creative and context. 

"I can’t over stress the importance of voice casting. No matter how good the writing, how impeccable the sound design, if you get the wrong voice in everything will be ruined."

Brand building

radio ADVERTISING BUILDS YOUR BRAND AND CHANGES PERCEPTIONS 

The IPA's Les Binet and Peter Field recently outlined a user manual for building a brand:

"Brand building is the main driver of long-term growth and involves the creation of memory structures that prime consumers to want to choose the brand. Without brand strengthening, growth will be weaker, activation will be weaker, pricing power will not improve and profitability growth will be severely reduced."

Likewise, it was made clear that long-term, brand-building campaigns need to do three things:

  1. Reach a wide audience
  2. Make an emotional connection
  3. Create brand fame

It's in these 3 core brand building elements that radio advertising lays it's foundations.

Reach

Radio delivers a combined audience of 36 million, a massive stake in the highly fragmented media audiences. 

Emotional Connection

As for emotional connection, Radio turns to music - something we all find a connection with.

The psychological benefits of music and audio are well documented. It's been found to improve moods when shopping, leading to higher than average overall expenditure. 

Advertisers can also use the familiarity of a popular song to incite a specific reaction in listeners that aligns with the objective of their ad. Powerful songs can evoke strong emotional responses, and songs can help create a soundtrack to the events unfolding in an ad when lyrics are integrated into the voice over and storyline.

"Using well known music is like using the world’s best short cut. It gets a client on level three almost immediately. You’re quickly getting them to the level of trust, commercial responsibility and actionability that can take years of standard outreach."

 - Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

But while it’s important that ads resonate with listeners, advertisers want their messages to drive sales, especially with the large price tags that can come with using popular music. However, the good news is that popular songs (and artists) deliver a one-two punch: They boost emotive power and can drive significant returns.

One of radio's enduring strengths is that you can listen while doing something else.  But with this comes a heightened need to have clear, stand out creative... (According to IPA Touchpoints; 92% of listening is done while listeners are engaged in another activity.) with that in mind you need to be much more efficient with your creative on radio than you would have to be with other traditional advertising mediums. 

If you really want to hear what good radio creative sounds like, then you'll want to check out our Radio Advert Archive, where we've been building up a bank of the best (and worst) radio adverts currently airing, along with the thoughts from our own creatives (the guys who write the ads). 

Creating Brand Frame

Radio accounts for 16% of all time spent with media so is effective at driving high share of voice/share of mind for a brand on budgets that would have limited impact within other media.

This amplifies brand fame: analysis of the IPA Databank reveals that including radio as part of the mix significantly increases the chance of achieving brand fame, as the chart below shows. 

 

For a holistic view of brand building effectiveness, you can use the Ebiquity Media mapping tool here. 

Ebiquity’s analysis demonstrates that radio is the second strongest medium for building brands after TV.

Sales response

RADIO ADVERTISING FOR SALES ACTIVATION 

Frequency

When you need increased footfall and quick wins, you need to put yourself out there.

Radio provides, on average, the lowest ‘cost per thousand (customers)’ of all traditional advertising. Likewise, radio also offers low cost production values for your advert – bringing that dream advert idea closer to life and closer to the budget.

What’s the point of driving sales and increasing footfall if you’re spending most of your return on advertising? Stick with radio, the cost-effective way to drive footfall and sales response.

Assured ROI

According to research carried out by Ebiquity at the start of this year, radio provides assured ROI.

Ebiquity used their own research and asked advertisers to feedback on their chosen mediums. Both the evidence and the feedback from advertisers found that radio provided assured ROI.

They found an incremental return of £7.70 for every £1 spent on radio, which is a great return on your investment. 

Trust in radio, the only traditional medium that continues to grow. 

In Q3 2018 radio revenue increased 5.0% year on year (boosted by a 25.1% rise in digital revenues) in line with the total media market growth of 5.1%. Radio remains the second fastest growing medium after Internet aggregated across the first nine months of the year, with revenue increasing 6.4% y-o-y across this period.

Overall, UK adspend reached £5.6bn in Q3 2018, marking the 21st consecutive quarter of market growth and the industry’s strongest third quarter of the year since 2015. This record investment highlighted in the report underpins the preliminary estimate for 2018 adspend of £23.5bn, meaning the industry will have grown +6.0% year-on-year.

The report forecasts that radio adspend will register an annual rise of 4.8% in 2019.

Radiocentre’s Chief Executive Siobhan Kenny said:

“Radio has continued to exceed expectations. We’ve seen a particularly strong Q3 2018, with advertisers recognising the positive impact radio can have for their brands, particularly in an uncertain financial landscape.”

Radio Provides an Experience

Think of the way radio is delivered. It’s focused around the relationship between broadcast and listener. It’s intimate, exclusive and action based. Your customers will be called to take specific action.

An advert that addresses customers directly will not only generate more response, but it will capture the customers who are ready to buy.

Similarly, radio advertising backs up a strong call to action with creative that sells.

If you need help building a message that can drive footfall and sales, we’d be happy to help.  Just click the button below to get started with radio. 

B2B? Learn how radio works for you in our latest ebook. Download our 'Compehensive guide to Radio Advertising' here.

 

 pie-1

Cross-channel effectiveness 

The ad industry likes glamour.

You only need to cast your eyes over the Cannes Lions awards shortlist to see that.

In fact, there was one omission from the categories this year that made results-driven advertisers everywhere weep: that of the Integrated category.

Crossing the streams and using a mix of different marketing methods, although not celebrated or glamorous, is a savvy move that has supported heavyweight campaigns for decades.  

But running multichannel campaigns is different to creating a seamless, integrated experience that carries a single idea across the various touchpoints, online and offline.

That’s where cross-channel campaigns come in. Whereas multi-channel approach is channel-centric (what’s the best message for each channel), the cross-channel approach is customer-centric (what’s the best message for each customer, regardless of where that may be).

That is where the barriers start to emerge, especially with SME’s (who only make up 18% of the total UK ad spend) where there are concerns around budget and resources. Are you providing relevance across all these platforms? Or are you just there because everyone else is?  

I’ll be focusing on how audio, audio-visual (TV) and display have worked together to enhance results and how they’ve kept their place at the very pinnacle of the effective advertising charts.

 

Combining Audio and Visual Expands Associations

 

We were lucky enough to be able to attend the first ever Radio Audio Week a few months ago.

Ironically, it was eBay, the online marketplace, that spoke the most truth about offline advertising.

Gareth Jones, Marketing Manager at eBay, wanted to change the way people saw eBay. He thought eBay had evolved from the second-hand marketplace it started out as and moved more towards a reputable place to buy and sell bespoke, collector and new goods.

But how was he going to wipe out over 10 years of brand building?

A combination of radio and TV.

“A couple of years ago, 90% of what we spent in the UK would have been digital, transactional, direct response type of investment,” Jones explained.

But that spend wasn’t cultivating the salience they needed to start changing people’s view on eBay.

“Intuitively, we knew we had to invest in traditional channels to build brand salience and get people thinking differently about eBay.”

This came from consistent, targeted ads that worked in conjunction with TV campaigns. Both featuring the same music, sonic logo and voices. Slowly, over a period of 24 months, opinion started to shift and a uplift in new item sales followed.

This is a great example of how a cross-channel, integrated campaign has been used to expand associations, not just in terms of reach but also in terms of penetration.

And the evidence doesn’t just stop there.

Recent analysis of radio-campaign returns from Ebiquity’s ROI database reveals that creative synergies between TV and radio ads give a huge boost to return on investment. A campaign using matched scripts and audio across TV and radio ads boosted ROI by 500% compared with ads that had no match between treatments. This attests to one of radio’s great advantages for advertisers – it reinforces messages from other media in a close and personal relationship with the listener.

 

Advice From Radiocentre:

Further evidence of the power of integration comes from 10 years of Radiogauge research, which assesses the creative effectiveness of radio campaigns against the Five ‘I’s: involvement, identity, impression, information and integration. Data aggregated from more than 7000 campaigns measured demonstrates that the most effective radio campaigns have consistency at their heart: of creative idea, audio branding, voiceover and music. Radiogauge continues to be used to analyse campaigns that use integrated thinking to forge creative synergies between TV and radio ads. A recent example of an ad that scored very highly was The AA’s "Singing baby" campaign, which used the Ike and Tina Turner song Proud Mary as an identifier, helping it to stand out both on TV and radio.

- Lucy Barrett, Client Director, Radiocentre (Read the full article here.)

 

2018 - The Year for Radio and Digital 

The relationship between radio and digital channels has, for a long time, been a positive one. 

Advertisers time after time choose to use radio to drive listeners online. It's reflected in their creative where they choose to feature their landing pages, websites and 

This relationship was made tangible in Q1 of 2018 when WARC released their advertising Expenditure Report. 

UK advertising expenditure grew 5.9% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, reaching £5.7bn, the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report has revealed. More substantially, radio smashed the growth figures with 12.5% coming out overall top. 

fastest growing

Ruth Cartwright, head of AV at Amplifi, said: "Radio has historically been an undervalued medium – so it’s incredibly gratifying to see it getting the commitment it deserves from clients and brands giving it a central role in their media mix.

"The growth of digital audio and the realisation that audio is fraud-free, non-skippable, and provides a safe environment for brands, has hugely increased audio’s appeal to advertisers." 

Later this year, the WARC revealed further evidence to support this with their Sound Presence research

"When consumers were exposed to the original and edited versions of the ad, researchers found that brain response at end branding was higher across all key metrics – engagement, emotional intensity, memory encoding – for the version of the ad with the sound ident."

 

audio future

The Future of radio/Audio 

We tend not to notice how important sound is until it’s absent and, for advertisers looking to break into voice-activated tech, that absence is telling.

As ABI Research projects 120m voice-enabled devices are set to be shipped annually by 2021 in the UK, Google and Bing project that by 2020, 30% of searches will be done without a screen and 50% of searches will be done with voice.

Audio-led user-interfaces are proliferating and search is being not just triggered but also delivered by audio, we’re seeing more and more advertisers tentatively put their hand up and say: “Maybe we should have some audio branding after all.”

But don’t be fooled into thinking this is all because of the technology. Consider this:

What if Alexa didn’t talk back? What if she replied with silence and sent the answer to your phone as a push notification? What if it wasn’t an auditory, conversational experience? No opportunities to inspire, to educate, to upsell.

Would that Alexa be as popular as the one we have now?

To attribute this shift entirely to the technology would be underselling the value of audio, and specifically voice conversation. A force that has, through the ages, been a significant part of all of our lives.

New call-to-action

 

The Sound of The Centuries

To trace the story of our relationship with sound is to trace the story of how we as a species learned to overcome our fears of the natural world, perhaps even control it; how we learned to communicate with, understand and live alongside our fellow beings

It encompasses the roar of the baying crowd in ancient Rome, medieval power struggles, the stresses of industrialisation, the shock of war, the rise of cities and the unceasing chatter of 24-hour news.

On a personal level, audio, sound and voice are like the switchboard operators of your subconscious. They’re connecting you with past memories, immediately transporting you to a specific time and place in your life and continually creating new memories as you go through each and every day.

And like with most good stories, as you progress through the chapters themes start to take form. Audio has always sought to provide answers and enable solutions in a conversational format.

Only now, when we have a technology that harnesses that power and puts it into a device that puts conversation first do we only start to realise that.

 

Voice searches

 

 

When Conversations Come First

If there is one thing we strive for in radio, it’s dialogue. Dialogue between listener, station and advertiser. We try our hardest to create a consistent narrative throughout our radio programming and we’ve seen great success in brand communications that focus on this.

If there’s one area that we haven’t quite been able to crack, it’s true context. That’s where voice-tech provides opportunities.

Consumers, subconsciously or not, look for control and voice-activated content sits at the heart of this. When advertising is delivered around the content the listener is asking for, and not as a search result, you’ll be one step closer to creating true contextual conversations.

And, in a connected world, audio has the power to cut through the clutter — often with a more emotionally resonant and intimate message than other forms of advertising. That’s why the opportunity for brands is so ripe in this voice-first, audio-led era.

But, if exchanges between fellow human beings have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes a conversation can be seen as prying – intrusive. Especially when it’s in our own homes.  

Naturally, consumers will be reticent to invite advertisers into what they will see as a personal space and, for now, that’s mirrored in the data coming out of smart speaker use.

Despite all the other functions available, radio dominates listening on Echo accounting for 72% of all Echo time spent with audio entertainment – aided by the improved user experience delivered through the UK Radioplayer skill.

Currently, your customers are mostly using their voice activated devices to listen to radio and audio. This means you can immediately break into this market with radio and audio ads. When the market is this nascent, it makes sense to arrive early and plan your marketing moves as the market develops.

But, that seems like a gross misuse of the technologies potential to deliver messages at relevant times, in relevant places and in a conversational format. So, as the market flourishes, we’ll see new ways to deliver messages that properly leverage the technologies potential. Perhaps it’ll be a bid system similar to the way PPC works. Maybe it’ll work in a similar fashion to radio sponsorships. As particular Alexa skills become popular, you’ll be to buy your way into a sponsorship. Either way, you need to create a relevant audio message.

That’s where we can help. 

Contact the team

5 Tips for Writing for Voice

  1. Writing for voice bring it’s own brand of segmentation - Let’s take the word “Scone” as an example. Do you pronounce it as in “gone” or “stone”? There are two key factors in how people say the word – region and social grade. Those living in the North (60%) and Scotland (80%) overwhelmingly use the “gone” pronunciation, while those in the Midlands (56%) and London (50%) are much more likely to go with the “bone” option. Whichever you use, people will be making a judgement about you based on how you sound. Going into writing for sound and not considering the regionality of your chosen voice is like
  2. Write With Solutions in Mind - Here’s what’s troubling marketers and product bods: when you’re searching for something with a screen, you’re given a plethora of results. With voice-activated devices, only one ad is heard at a time. Does Alexa care about brand power? No. Does she care about your commission? No. Does she care if your product solves a problem and that your ad delivers that solution in a respectful, caring manner? Definitely
  3. Routine and User Experience – Like with all advertising, people aren’t going to go out of their way to do something new. So, you should be choosing something the target user is doing anyway, then make it easier for them. More importantly, it’s a question of whether marketers can add value to customers on these platforms. There is no place for disruption when the platform is seen as a personal assistant. Look at the backlash to ads like this one from Burger King that hijacked users devices. Ads must either add to the listeners experience or solve a problem. On the flip side, Dominos ran a very successful campaign when they launched their Alexa skill around the time the US Super Bowl. They promoted the idea of not needing to get out of their seat to order a pizza, just give Alexa a command and she’ll take care of everything
  4. An Emphasis on Conversations – At the heart of voice assistant technology a very simply construct exists: the flow chart. If this then that. If not this, then it must be that. This conversational approach to problem solving puts you and your brand at the heart of a friendly discussion. Once you’re there you can understand customer requirements and position your product just right

 

Write for the Ear

Voice and conversational design in primarily copywriting – a highly skilled and under-valued craft. Engaging professionals who understand how to write the way we speak should be very high up on your to do list. Radio copywriters are perfectly placed and qualified to help develop audio focused conversational copy. And conversations are certain to drive conversions.

 

Trust long

 

Trust 

Trust is a crucial part of the buying journey and advertising is all about influencing your customers' buying. 

There was a time where trust was a bi-product of status. For example, the old Lucky Strikes adverts leveraged trusted pillars of society, in this case; the Physicians. Consumers were more inclined to believe the "It's Toasted!" slogan and the message with it because it was associated with a caregiver. Times have changed.

For us, trust is a precious commodity. With easy access to information and insights, customers have become more informed and naturally sceptical. It's harder than ever to nurture trust in your customers buying journey in a way that's authentic.

Forget 'Fake News', forget ad blocks and YouTube boycotts. Radio has got some 'Real News' for you:

Radio is the most trusted medium for news, entertainment and ads.

As reported in the most recent public opinion survey undertaken by the European Commission.

Trust is one of the most powerful currencies in business and marketing and it's currently high on the list of priorities of many brands.


Trusted medium

“Trust in media is set to be a big topic of discussion in 2018, so it is really encouraging that this new research once again finds radio to be the most trusted medium in Europe."
-Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre

 

The Beast From The East and Fake News

In the era of fake news, advertising has been caught in the crossfire. Radio is one of the few mediums that has held the trust of the public. The consistency and readiness of the content available on air puts radio head and shoulders above other mediums. 

This trust was exemplified when the 'Beast in the East' hit the British Isles in early March 2018. During the cold snap roads were closed, schools shut, and people trapped. Where did they go for their updates? Radio.

Radio saw a massive spike in listenership during this time further showing the levels of trust vested in Radio as a medium. 

This extends to news coverage as this Radiocentre study found that 79% agree commercial radio provides helpful, concise updates on the news throughout the day.

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